Kirkland startup trying to change home buying, selling

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:

KIRKLAND, Wash. - Sites like Redfin and Zillow have changed the way people look at real estate, but a new company in Seattle is trying to fundamentally change the way real estate is bought and sold.

Mirela Correa listed her former home for sale through Faira.com, a new website a friend recommended.

Faira does the photography and an inspection for free, then shares all the info with potential buyers and takes online bids in real time.

“It was very exciting and a bit nervous,” Correa said.

Kamal Jain developed Faira after he tried working with a real estate agent to buy a home that had multiple offers on it.

“It's hard to make an offer if already there at 10 or 11 offers,” Jain said.

“Agents are not willing to put that effort.”

Jain said he did not get the house, but would have been willing to pay a lot more for the home than what the seller ultimately accepted.

He said his site gives the buyer transparency about what it might take to purchase the house and has automatic bidding features.

The maximum amount the bidder is willing to pay is kept confidential.

The seller gets to evaluate bids in real time.

“Everybody is looking for a fair transaction, a fair deal, so we thought fairness was one of the most important values,” Jain said.

Faira makes money by charging the winning 0.5 percent of the final price.

Faira suggests both sides can save money by not working with a real estate agent, although agents can be included in the process.

However, according to the National Association of Realtors, agents are pivotal in guiding both sides through the complicated process of evaluating offers, pricing property and eventually closing the deal.

Correa did think about working with an agent, but said she was pleased with how things worked out on her own.

“I was expecting to sell my house for $800,000, and it sold for $856,000 so it was way above what I was expecting,” Correa said.

Faira has sold 70 homes in Western Washington since the site was fully up and running at the beginning of this year.